What does black mean to you?

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The Association of Black Collegians, ABC, is an organization on campus that is built on a solid foundation of leadership, support and involvement in the community. This student-run society focuses on the history, solidarity and knowledge of black culture. With February being Black History Month, students in the organization have planned events that will create a social learning experience for everyone.

“Going to a predominantly white institution, this club is an amazing opportunity. It gives space to educate the campus of African American struggles, about our culture and just about what it means to be black. I think this club is an outlet for students who want to identify themselves as allies and take a step forward to let people know that black is excellence,” said Brittany Pomilee, vice president of ABC.

Black History Month began as only one week in 1926, founded by Carter G. Woodson, a noted African American historian. Woodson wanted the history, culture and achievements to be remembered and celebrated. The second week of February was chosen to correspond with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. It expanded to a month-long celebration in 1976, in part to the civil rights movement.

“Without Black History Month there probably wouldn’t be ABC,” lectured Austin Davis, president of ABC, during the first meeting of the spring semester. “We probably wouldn’t have this opportunity. It’s because of Woodson that we do and it’s very important to know this history. As the ABC we talk about and teach black culture, black issues and black history, we should know the guy that started Black History Month.”

ABC will host a wide range of activities during the month to get the community involved and combine social gatherings with learning experiences. These events range from an evening of Art and Jazz to a screening of Black Panther at a local movie theater. The month will end with a trip to Waco, Texas for the Big XII Black Student Government conference, where they will discuss issues facing the organization and provide leadership opportunities for the future.

“Last year really set the bar on this year of wanting to create even more of a space for celebration. You really saw the passing of the torch, a majority of the group graduated so they gave their last hoorah to create a legacy and now you see the new executive board trying to keep the torch well lit and shine some light on other areas around black history,” stated Tiffany Reed, program coordinator for diversity and inclusion.

During a meeting with the organization, the executive board gave everyone a chance to state why this month was important and what impact it had on each individual. They concluded the meeting with one malleable question, “what does black mean to you?”  Though all answers were different, they centered around one idea, being black is beautiful.

To join ABC or read more about their involvement click here. For more information about the upcoming events or any questions you may have, you can contact the organizational email at abc@maryville.edu.

Flyer of activities hosted by the Association of Black Collegians for Black History month. Photo courtesy of Austin Davis.
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